Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Interviews

Faith and Football

An in-depth chat with our number 10 about Ramadan

29 April 2022

April is always a key stage of the season for any footballer and our very own Ayoub Assal is certainly someone who knows that all too well.

That's because the final month of this season has coincided with our attacking midfielder observing Ramadan.

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar - which is observed by Muslims worldwide – is a period that is focused around fasting, prayer, reflection and community. 

Ayoub is required to only consume food and drink within certain times of the day, meaning that it is a process which requires a great deal of mental and physical strength.

Here our Academy graduate discusses his experiences of fasting with Chris Thorpe. 

Q: HOW HAVE YOU COPED WITH IT?

A: The first couple of days are always challenging because your body is getting used to it. Sheffield Wednesday away was the first game I was fasting. It was tough but after you do it day after day your body adapts and you don’t really end up thinking about it.

Q: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO FAST WHILST PLAYING FOOTBALL?

A: In the Premier League you see the best players doing it. Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez and Mo Salah - they’re all fasting. So when you see top players performing whilst they’re fasting, it gives you that extra push. And the last thing I want is it to be is an excuse as to why I can’t perform.

Q: WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING THING FOR YOU ABOUT IT?

A: The mental discipline. It’s about staying concentrated and to be fair it’s probably the best shape I will be in throughout the year. I’m not eating any fatty foods, I’m not eating any cheat meals – it’s just good for you mentally and physically.

Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IT?

A: When you’re younger you start doing a couple of days, on and off. Once you turn 16, you then begin to do it every single day.

Q: WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

A: I wake up in the morning at around 7:30am and then I come down to train. I then get home and I can’t eat until 8pm. From 8pm I then have all the way up until 4am – that is my eating time - so my sleeping pattern changes. It’s a different schedule but Vicky (Newbold) and Chris (McConnell) have done a great job with helping me, so I would like to thank them.

In case you missed our extensive interview with Ayoub from last week, you can watch it by clicking on the link below.


Advertisement block